Kathy Southgate has been harassed on multiple occasions while cycling.

Kathy Southgate has been harassed on multiple occasions while cycling. Photo: Rohan Thomson

In the past six months Kathy Southgate has had a bag of rice and a two-litre bottle of soft drink thrown at her while riding her bike on Canberra's roads, but the 56-year-old Lyneham mother says most motorists are respectful of cyclists.

Her story is one several sparked by a Canberra Times report of a schoolteacher who sustained broken ribs after several kilograms of rice were dumped on a bike path on Tuesday morning.

With each story of a cyclist suffering injuries, simmering hostility between drivers and cyclists bubbles to the surface, but motoring and cycling groups would like to see a truce.

Kathy Southgate has been harassed on multiple occasions while cycling.

Kathy Southgate has been harassed on multiple occasions while cycling. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Ms Southgate was riding with her husband on Northbourne Avenue just before Christmas when they were targeted by passengers in a car throwing bags of rice - thankfully neither were hit.

"I thought, what the heck! We'd just come back from a cycling holiday in Europe where motorists were really considerate, and [we] were thinking how good it was, and then we both have a bag of rice thrown at us.

"We were a bit shocked that somebody would actually hate cyclists enough that they would throw something at us when we were in a cycle lane."

Just a month ago they were targeted again, this time by a two-litre bottle of soft drink, which also missed them.

"It shakes you up for a while - it's a bit of a shock, you're a bit upset … but you get over it, you get back out there," Ms Southgate said.

"I just make sure I'm being as careful as I can, watching the traffic all the time and doing the right thing."

NRMA motoring and services director Alan Evans said long-running tension between motorists and cyclists was unhelpful, and there were examples of poor conduct evident from both sides. "Sections of both parties have a jaundiced view of the other side," he said.

"Whenever there is a collision, no matter who is at fault, cyclists are more likely than car drivers to suffer serious injury.

"We want to make sure all road users are aware of their surroundings and take account of other people, be they motorists or bike riders."

Cycling advocacy group Pedal Power would like to see the end of sweeping generalisations about cyclists, with recognition that there are different types of bike riders, just as there are different types of drivers, and most are respectful.

"You don't want to create this big divide between people who ride bikes and people who drive cars - the reality is a lot of people do both," Pedal Power's communication manager, Matt Larkin, said. "Most of the time, [riding a bike] is a pretty pleasant thing to do … but we have to be honest, there are sections of the community that for whatever reason can sometimes be a little bit hostile to people on bikes.

"Getting people on bikes is actually a great thing for people who choose to drive. The friendlier [the] environment is for bike riders, and the more people we get on to bikes, then the better life's going to be for people who want to drive cars," he said.